The Merge aside, Ethereum is already one of the biggest players in the crypto space. It's the second-most popular cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC), and it's the most widely used network for decentralized applications (dApps) such as NFT marketplaces and decentralized finance (DeFi) projects.
At the moment, Ethereum still uses a proof of work (PoW) mining protocol, which is time- and energy-intensive. However, The Merge will move Ethereum to a proof of stake (PoS) protocol, which is considerably more efficient.
Moving to a PoS system could help expand Ethereum's capabilities, making it easier to compete with newer blockchains.
Many smaller networks already use PoS, which gives them an advantage over larger cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum that still use PoW. Once Ethereum completes its upgrade, though, it will be on a more level playing field with networks like Solana and Cardano.
While The Merge is a strong step in the right direction for Ethereum, there are still risks involved.Despite its advantages, Ethereum is still a speculative investment.